Health: Finding & Appraising
Medical Library Association
Continuing Education Course
May 21, 2004
Course Developers: Elaine Martin, Hathy Simpson,
Kristine Alpi, Nancy Allee
Tools & Resources for Collection
Management of Public Health
Learning Objective &
Gain an awareness of tools available for collection
Presentation and discussion on collection
management of public health materials, including
books and journals, government documents, grey
literature, data and technical reports, with particular
emphasis on evidence-based resources and with time
built in for searching relevant websites.
Definition: Collection Management
collection policy development
materials budget allocation
collection use and user studies
training and organization of collection
cooperative collection development
Source: Branin, Joseph, France Groen, and Suzanne Thorin. “The Changing Nature
of Collection Management in Research Libraries.” Library Resources & Technical
Services, vol. 44, no. 1, January 2000, pp. 23-32.
Developing, implementing, and evaluating
public health programs or public health
policies (in public health terms an
"intervention") that have 1) data
demonstrating their effectiveness and 2) a
grounding in a health behavior theory or
ecological model of health.
Collection Management & EBPH
Evidence-based public health is an emerging area of study on the
public health landscape for which no defined call numbers or
MeSH (medical subject headings) currently exist, so identifying
resources in this area can be somewhat challenging and requires
a creative and strategic approach.
Libraries are facing a period of reduced budgets and a period of
needing to make careful choices because of limited resources, so
effective decision making in selecting and acquiring resources is
For libraries serving schools and programs in public health,
funding agencies are increasingly requiring best evidence
approaches, so it is important to have a collection that supports
the research and practice in this area.
New MLA DocKit
Collection Development and Management
for Electronic, Audiovisual, and Print
Resources in Health Sciences Libraries
(MLA DocKit #3, 2nd revised edition,
MLANET: Acquisitions and Collection Development:
New Public Health Collection
Wallis, L.C. Collection Development in
Public Health: A guide to selection tools.
The Acquisitions Librarian. 2004. 31/32:
Collection Management Policy
A collection policy can be thought of as the
blueprint, or the master plan, for the health
sciences or public health library. It is an
essential guide for interpreting and
understanding the development and
design of a library collection, and it can be
used to ensure good stewardship of
Examine the sample collection policy in
Section 5. Does your library have a
collection management policy for public
health? What are some similarities and/or
differences between your library policy and
the sample policy? What are features of
the policy you find useful for collection
management of public health and
evidence-based public health resources?
Most approval plans will feature online access which
facilitates searching for evidence-based resources.
You can search by keywords such as “evidence based
public health,” “public health best practices,” and
“evidence based practice” to find best evidence
Selected list of vendors:
Stay current on new publications by maintaining
a list of public health journals that include book
Set up a regular schedule for reviewing book
recommendations and selecting items for the
As a starting point, see the list of public health
journals at the Lamar Soutter Library: University
of Massachusetts Medical School: Evidence-
Based Practice for Public Health Project:
Annual Reviews can be a valuable
resource for collection management in
identifying current trends by discipline.
Chapter articles usually include fairly
There is an Annual Review of Public
Health as well as annual reviews of fields
related to public health.
The Institute of Medicine, in its 2003 report on public
health entitled Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?
Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st
Century, identified eight critical areas for public health
education in the future.
Community-based Participatory Research
Policy and Law
Source: National Academies Press,
<http://www.nap.edu/books/030908542X/html/>, 2003, p. 62.
Federal Depository Resources
State & Local Documents
Web Resources Cont’d.
Grey literature = Non-conventional, fugitive, and
sometimes ephemeral publications:
technical specifications and standards
technical and commercial documentation
official documents not published commercially (primarily
government reports and documents)
Source: New York Academy of Medicine: What is Grey Literature?:
Select one of the resources from the list of
Grey Literature Producing Organizations in
Section 5; search the organization’s
website; comment on how its resources
might be useful for evidence-based
Public Health Subject Mappings & High-
Level Web Browsing
Public health is an interdisciplinary subject area
represented by a wide range of call numbers.
Subject maps for defining a public health
collection can be used to produce high-level web
browsing information from a library’s website
related to public health materials.
High-level web browsing can include new book
lists, journal lists, databases, and other
Reference & ILL
Establish procedures for identifying
requests related to this area to gain an
understanding of the types of questions
being asked, the nature of research in this
area, and ideas for purchase based on
items being requested.
Programmatic & Grant Initiatives
Identify new programmatic initiatives in particular public
health schools or programs with which you liaison.
Track and monitor faculty grants in the area of public
Some examples of new programmatic and grant
initiatives in public health:
Competency-based Training of the Public Health Workforce;
Public Health Genetics;
Public Health Informatics;
Faculty Profiles & Experts
Create faculty research profiles and an “experts”
database to identify key areas of public health
research and expertise for both consultation and
For an example of public health faculty research
For an example of a public health expertise
database, browse through the topic list at
Participatory Collection Building &
Encourage faculty, students, and other public
health constituents to actively recommend
books, journals, and other items for purchase.
Consider reserving a portion of the collection
budget for these on-demand purchases and to
include a note about procedures for this type of
purchase in your collection policy.
Promote this service in library publications and
on the library website.
Track the number and cost of these purchases
to use in preparing the annual collection budget
Consortia can be defined as a cooperative
arrangement among institutions with
common interests, often for the purpose of
sharing resources at reduced costs to the
participating individual libraries.
Identify collection strengths and gaps in a collection by
working with your library systems office to run various reports on
using collection analysis software;
doing a comparative analysis by reviewing statistics comparing
your public health collection to that of other libraries.
Categories of statistics can include number of volumes, number of
items in a particular call number range, circulation and usage,
annual expenditures by subject area, number of faculty, students,
and courses in a programmatic area supported by the collection.
During periods of budget reductions, collection analysis
can also be useful in identifying duplicate and low-use
serials titles, two categories for potential cancellation.
Collection Management Strategies
for Evidence-Based Public Health:
“Top Ten” List
Source: lettermanSmall.jpg, 260 x 200 pixels - 19k
1) Identify evidence-based public health journal
titles and monitor the journals on an ongoing
basis for book reviews and announcements of
2) Work with health sciences and public health
librarians to identify commonly used evidence-
based public health terms, keywords, identifiers,
and phrases and monitor approval plan for titles
using this terminology.
3) Search publishers’ websites on a routine basis
for evidence-based public health terms to
monitor new publications in this area.
4) Set up an SDI (selective dissemination of
information) search in PubMed on evidence-
based public health to monitor the literature and
authors publishing in this area in order to identify
new resources for acquisition.
5) Review the bibliographies of evidence-
based public health books to identify new
resources for acquisition.
6) Review public health-related and
evidence-based public health websites on
a routine basis for new resources.
7) Develop an evidence-based public health
library class to offer at your institution.
8) Prepare subject guides/bibliographies/
pathfinders/new book lists on the subject
of evidence-based public health to
promote the resources in your library.
9) Create an evidence-based public health
webpage on your library’s website to link to web
resources in this area and to promote the
resources in your library. Track usage statistics
for the site.
10) Work with the development officer in your
library to set up a fundraising campaign on
evidence-based public health for purchasing a
core set of resources in this area.
11) Organize a seminar on evidence-based public
health for faculty, students, and public health
constituents; discuss evidence-based
approaches in public health research and
practice; identify resources that will assist in
12) Take an evidence-based public health
continuing education class and incorporate
ideas into your collection development and
13) Join the Public Health/Health Administration
Section’s email group and communicate with
colleagues on evidence-based public health
collection management issues and trends (see
the organization’s website at
14) Contact libraries serving other schools of
public health to discuss evidence-based public
health initiatives, resources, and best practices
in collection management [(see a list of
accredited schools and programs on the CEPH
(Council on Education for Public Health) website
15) Begin a collective effort to identify and
purchase evidence-based resources and make it
convenient for faculty, students, and other public
health constituents to provide input by putting an
easy-to-use recommendation form on your
16) Write a definition of evidence-based public
health to include in your collection management
policy and determine the level at which you will
collect these resources.
Share other ideas, suggestions, and
strategies for effective collection
management of evidence-based public